Part 2: Zoroastrians (and Mani, the painter). The issue of Dualism.
First, I have to make it clear that I don’t want to teach history here. I only want to go to the doctrine of dualism with the help of the past.
When we look back at our religious history, we find out that the term dualism is confined. This exists only from ancient Egyptians to old Persians. (I don’t talk about philosophical religions like Buddhism).
Aside from the Greek and Roman Mythology, in the Egyptians, there are more than one mighty God (and it is not common to define any as “good/bad” Gods, but we try it!): e.a. Amun, Hathor, Horus, Isis & Osiris etc. as good Goddesses/Gods, and Kek, the Goddess of darkness, and Seth as an ambivalent god, characterized by violence, chaos, and strength, connected with the desert, and maybe Anubis/Anput, the God/Goddess of embalming and protector of the dead.
In the ancient Persians, the mighty powers clearly divided into two sides: the light side and the dark side: Ahura-Mazda as the good God, and Ahriman (Angra Mainyu) as the bad God. As you see, there are always two sides: good or bad, dark or light, etc. But with equal powers.
As we look through the history of old Persia, we can see that the main religious belief was based on Dualism (a good God and a bad God) and not on the only “One God”. Until the appearance of the Semitic folk, from Noah to Muhammad, with their single God and all associated angels, and they have got massive believers.
How is the belief in a single god, and how good or bad was the issue of Dualism? That’s what the history shows: The single God rules the majority on this Earth with three different religions, and and unfortunately and strangely too, with an endless war between all three kinds of beliefs from the same root and family!!
What I want to ask is: isn’t the best condition in every situation the balance? I think also that Dualism is that balance which we need. In the ancient Persians, as I want to talk about, was dualism a huge matter.
Ahura-Mazda (meaning ‘Wise Lord’) the God of light, wisdom, and virtue. With his main rules, which were not ten, but only three: Good Thoughts, Good Deeds and Good Words. And his prophet, Zarathustra. (It seems that Ahura-Mazda’s sibling, Ahriman, did not need any prophet. As we know, no devil needs a prophet. Everyone has one inside!)
His teachings challenged the existing traditions of the Indo-Iranian religion and inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Ancient Persia. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.
There are some different narrations of Zarathustra’s wandering in the wilderness (as the most prophet had done), but it had to be almost like this:
At the age of thirty, Zarathustra goes into the wilderness and so enjoys his spirit and his solitude there that he stays for ten years. Finally, he decides to return among people, and share with them his over-brimming wisdom. Like the setting sun, he must descend from the mountain and “go under.”
On his way, he encounters a saint living alone in the forest. This saint once loved mankind, but grew sick of their imperfections and now loves only God. He tells Zarathustra that mankind doesn’t need the gift he brings, but rather help: they need someone to lighten their load and give them alms. Taking his leave of the saint, Zarathustra registers with surprise that the old man has not heard that “God is dead!”
Upon arriving in the town, Zarathustra begins to preach, proclaiming the overman. Man is a rope between beast and overman and must be overcome. The way across is dangerous, but it must not be abandoned for otherworldly hopes. Zarathustra urges the people to remain faithful to this world and this life, and to feel contempt for their all-too-human happiness, reason, virtue, justice, and pity. All this will prepare the way for the overman, who will be the meaning of the earth. Continued here
But there came a breakup in the Zoroastrian religion by a man named Mani, who went further from Dualism into the belief in the Divine.
I have to make another part (3), as I see it’s going to be longer than I thought! Thank you for your interest. 🙏💖🙏